Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, center, with the leaders

of Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh,

left, and South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity. Medvedev signed

friendship treaties with the two on Wednesday, promising

them the support of Russia's armed forces, Sept. 17.



Le Figaro, France

Did Russia 'Win' the Georgia Crisis? Not By a Long Shot


"The relationship between Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union have spectacularly deteriorated Ö Chinaís has resoundingly refused to show the slightest solidarity with Moscow Ö there has been a massive divestment on Russia's Stock Exchange. It's a rather opportune time for the Western alliance to negotiate an end to this crisis, which would immediately stabilize a large portion of the planet.



By Alexandre Adler



Translated By Kate Davis


September 20, 2008


France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)


Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili addresses the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 23.


UNITED NATIONS VIDEO: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili appeals to the world to support his nation against Russian aggression, Sept. 23, 00:23:55 RealVideo

The height of the Russo-Georgian crisis seems now to have passed. The time has come for real assessments. Russia has benefitted from its initial firmness, at least in one theater: Ukraine. In Kiev, a very broad consensus has emerged to put off the country's membership in NATO. It must certainly be noted that President Yushchenko, the main advocate of a political-military alliance with the West, has experienced a spectacular collapse of his political credibility at the polls, almost parallel to the nearly complete recovery of his face, which was once marked by the attempted poisoning he was a victim of. But the pushing aside of his prime minister and ally in the "Orange Revolution," Yulia Tymoshenko, has laid the groundwork for the next general election with a coalition that includes his own party and the "regions," comprising the bulk of Russian-speaking voters from Donbass, Crimea and Odessa. With the return to power of qualified representatives of the non-Ukrainian minorities [pro-Russian], Moscow now has an ipso-facto right to inspect if not veto all decisions of the Ukrainian government. Since French and German foreign ministries have indicated their refusal to begin a process as destabilizing as letting Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, some may believe that Putinís reconstituted team has just won a great victory.




However, one train can hide another: if the situation in Ukraine is improving - and it was already recovering before the Georgian crisis - the relationship between Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union have, however, spectacularly deteriorated. For example: even that dreadful satrap of independent Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, is cozying up in the most unexpected fashion to Poland and the neighboring Baltic states to shield himself from Russian ambitions. Putinís foreign ministry has taken great pains to create a NATO alternative with China and the central Asian republics, "the so-called Shanghai group" [aka/the Shanghai Cooperation Organization ].


However, the little credibility that this group had has been shattered by Chinaís spectacular and resounding refusal to show the slightest solidarity with Moscow. In doing this, China took a clear legal position: Beijing cannot endorse changes, even symbolic ones, on the legal status of certain territories, because if it did, this would do lasting damage to its intransigent attitude toward Tibet and Taiwan. But Chinese annoyance goes beyond that: after the success of the Olympic Games and black clouds are gathering over the global economy, China has no desire for the logic of the Cold War, the first manifestation of which would be the erection of new protectionist measures by the Democratic majority in the U.S. Congress. If Russia thinks it has significant autonomy to act because of its important position in the oil market, China cannot afford this luxury, with growth that still depends on the secondary effects of exports, notably to the United States.



But there's a still more alarming element for the Russian government: the massive disinvestment - though not coordinated - by those who over the years, have purchased shares on the Moscow Stock Exchange. If the Soviet economy isn't too dependent on these financial flows, the position of the main oligarchic businesses is already feeling the impact. There's no need to organize system of sanctions: the American crisis and European fallout will prove sufficient to reduce the exposure of Western capitalists to a region that has again turned high risk.It's clear that with a victory that was obtained by such brutal means and by playing games with Ukraine's political parties, Russia has paid an exorbitant price in terms of the credibility of its alliances and the attractiveness of its economy.


Even if one gambles on a rapid solution to the global financial crisis, there's no doubt that in the first instance, a general slowdown will lead to an even more rapid decline in the price of a barrel of oil. But Russia currently exports only raw materials and some weapons systems to oil-producing countries and China. Without even establishing more hostile mechanisms, Europeans will soon be confronted with a more malleable and less triumphant Russia. It is here that Europe must above all take care not to emulate the absurd Russian strategy of recent weeks. Clearly, it's an opportune time to avenge the strong-arm tactics that have caused such fear around over the world and for the Western alliance, particularly the European Union, to negotiate an end to this crisis with Russia, which would immediately stabilize a large portion of the planet.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US September 26, 12:58am]